BB0618 Kentmere Horseshoe

6th July 2006

There's no stopping us now! 

That was the thought in my mind as we set off.  However it was not a gloat about our success last week but the fact that the ABS braking light wouldn't go out on my instrument panel!  Fortunately however the light did go out at Tony's and did not reappear until we got back to Kendal much later.

The big fear this week has been thunderstorms but the MWIS forecast was very bullish so we (Bryan, Stan, Tony and I) decided to tackle the Kentmere Horseshoe clockwise from the Church.  The weather was almost autumnal with one of those atmospheric thin mists lurking around but none-the-less warm and humid.

We set off gamely enough up the Garburn pass when Bryan said, "Let's take the fell runner's short cut".  Well, you all know by now what that means.  The direct route.  Straight up.  Still we legionnaires were in good form until we spotted someone on a parallel path taking a similar approach but at much faster speed.  We wondered whether to put on a spurt but noticed that he was dressed as a fell runner so did not come into the category of "Other walkers shall not pass".  Nevertheless and despite the slope getting rather steep, after the guy got ahead of us I asked Stan for permission to reel him in.  "Permission denied," said Stan.  "Look, you old fool, he's young, fit, has local knowledge and long legs- there's no way you can catch him".  Saddened but respectful of these wise words I let him go only to discover shortly afterwards that once he was out of sight he had to stop for a rest- it was all show.  Outmanoeuvred!  Or perhaps not because we never saw him again!  Or hardly anybody else for that matter which was a big surprise for such a popular area at this time of year.

The short cut brought us up between Buck Crag and Sale Tarn Knotts and it was a fairly easy stroll from there up Yoke and down the other side to Ill Bell and ditto to Froswick.  However the route is terribly bespoiled by the earth works that have taken place to create what really is a hiker's motorway. [ See Motorway] We just hope that it grows over sufficiently before too long to soften what currently is an ugly sight.


Yoke, Ill Bell & Froswick

We didn't take in Thornthwaite Crag as Tony is pig sick of it by now but took the traverse above Gavel Crag and Bleathwaite Crag before stopping for lunch at Mardale Ill Bell.  By now the air had cleared and it was a lovely day with a breeze just on the strong side of pleasant.  Haweswater was, not surprisingly, looking rather lower than last time we had seen it but not in danger of exposing the ghosts of Mardale.

Tony was in splendid wild life spotting form.  On the way up he found but couldn't catch a frog, a cockchafer (or at least that's what he said it was- it looked like a ladybird to me but apparently he has a cockchafer at home and knows about these things), wild ponies on High Street and later claimed to have seen a hare (although he first declared it to be a fox) but whatever it was, it was not for having its photo taken.

From Mardale Ill Bell to Harter Fell looks an easy amble but Stan warned that it wasn't and he was right.  Dropping down to the Nan Bield Pass was OK but the climb up to Harter Fell was not what you want after a decent lunch.  Fortunately it was a relatively easy passage from there to Kentmere Pike.  Here we sheltered from the wind and Tony started peeling an apple when Stan spotted the clouds closing in and rain about to chase us from the other side of the valley where we had been earlier.  So we hastily departed and set off down the hill for home.  On another day we might have taken in Shipman knots, especially as it's a Wainwright but I don't know if anyone knew that at the time.  Anyway my knees were starting to hurt so I was glad not to have any extensions.

Team picture in the Nan Bield armchair

Morris Truck

The path down kept disappearing and turning into beck which, being wet, was a little tricky at times.  However we all safely descended (without being rained on).  Indeed the weather improved again and provided glorious views around this magnificent valley. After passing a lovely little veteran Morris Truck, we finally reached the car with great thirsts needing quenching but, this week, only by water.

Funnily enough, I found today harder than last week, mainly I think because of the steep descents.  In total it took us six hours, including stops.  Stan and Bryan bemoaned the fact that they used to do it in little over two hours.  Tony and I find it inconceivable that anyone could move their body around that route so fast and as for the record of 1 hour 8 minutes or whatever it was, that just beggars belief!

And as for Wainwrights, it was a bit of a failure.  Only six, with several more having been only a short detour away!  Another day perhaps but we really have had a lot of exposure to this area lately and it's time to explore elsewhere.

6th July 2006


11.14 miles

Height climbed:
3,757 feet

Map reference:
See Map

Yoke, Froswick, Ill Bell, Mardale Ill Bell, Harter Fell and Kentmere Pike


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Slipper Strolls:



  • BB0631  Coppermines
  • BB0630  Relocation, Relocation, Relocation
  • BB0629  Stone Arthur and a Mystery Plume
  • BB0628  Knocking off Wainwrights.  Oh! Plus Skiddaw!
  • BB0627  Blencathra and the Mungrisdale Round
  • BB0626  The Deepdale Round
  • BB0625  Les Garçons de la Botte
  • BB0624  The Crookdale Horseshoe and then some
  • BB0623  Selside Pike revisited
  • BB0622  Round the Dunny!
  • BB0621  The Malham Experience
  • BB0620  Newlands Horseshoe
  • BB0619  Old Man Succumbs!
  • BB0618  Kentmere Horseshoe
  • BB0617 QH2QH High Street (the length thereof)
  • BB0616 Thornthwaite Beacon
  • BB0615  Fairfield Horseshoe
  • BB0614  High Street Racecourse
  • BB0613 The Coledale Round
  • BB0612  Well, Well, Well, Wansfell and Troutbeck Tongue      
  • BB0611  Carlin Gill
  • BB0610  Whitbarrow, Yewbarrow and a history lesson
  • BB0609  Clough Head and Great Dodd
  • BB0608  The Corpse Road and beyond
  • BB0607  Grim Fell!
  • BB0606  A Bit on the Side.....
  • BB0605  Angle Tarn with Surprises! 
  • BB0604  Hart Cragg via Dovedale
  • BB0603  Islands in the Sky with Brocken Spectres
    (or High Street via Gardiner's Grind)
  • BB0602  Holme Fell, Black Fell and Electric  Eyes
  • BB0601  Ingleborough
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